Badrinath temple is the most accessible and thus most popular of the Char Dham. You'll find this temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, surrounded by a rather untidy village and overshadowed by the towering, snow-topped, Nilkantha peak.
How Can Badrinath Temple be Reached?
Badrinath temple is commonly visited as a day trip from the unappealing town of Joshimath, reached by a precarious mountain road from Rishikesh. The route is Haridwar-Rishikesh-Devprayag-Srinagar (not the one in Kashmir!)-Rudraprayag-Joshimath. To get to Joshimath, you can either get a bus from Rishikesh or Haridwar. The journey will take around 10-12 hours, and buses leave around every half hour early in the mornings from 4 a.m. to 7 a.m.
From Joshimath, it's another two or so hours to reach Badrinath. The traffic is highly regulated as a couple of parts of the road are so narrow that only one-way traffic is possible. Traffic is allowed to depart from Joshimath and Badrinath only at certain times of the day, and it's again stopped at the half-way point of Pandukeshwar. The fixed departure times are 6-7 a.m., 9-10 a.m., 11-12 a.m., 2-3 p.m., and 4.30-5.30 p.m. You can take a bus or shared jeep.
The last 11 kilometers to Badrinath is the most spectacular part of the journey. The rise is steep, and a view of the entire Badrinath valley is laid out below.
If you feel that you want to take some time to appreciate Badrinath temple and its surroundings, there are plenty of accommodations on offer. The Sarovar Portico is the best, and costliest, option. Otherwise, the GMVN Tourist Bungalow is the preferred option for those on a budget.
Note: If you're interested in visiting the Valley of Flowers, the buses from Joshimath also run to Govind Ghat, where the trek starts.